What is Hypertension?
Your arteries act as pipes for your blood. The blood flows through your arteries at a specific pressure. High Blood Pressure, or Hypertension, is when the pressure of your blood in your arteries is raised. Hypertension is called a “silent killer” because people often do not know they have it until it causes something serious like a heart attack or stroke. Hypertension can be life-threatening.
A blood pressure reading of more than 140/90 mmHg on multiple occasions is considered hypertension. This varies over time and with updates in literature.
Many factors increase the risk of developing Hypertension, the most common risk factors are:
- Lack of physical activity
- A diet high in salt and processed foods
The Symptoms of Hypertension are often unclear, which makes it difficult for people to notice they have it. That is why it is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Use the Goals function of the Mandla app to record and monitor your blood pressure.
When the disease is severe, the following symptoms can occur:
- problems with vision
- weakness or numbness of limbs
Prevention and Management
Eating well and healthy is very important, try to reduce the amount of salt you eat to 1 teaspoon per day.
Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day and reduce the amount of fat and oil you eat.
Alcohol and smoking can also cause hypertension, so try your best to reduce these.
If you are overweight, exercise and eat healthy to reduce your weight to a healthy level.
Read our booklets on nutrition, exercise, alcohol and smoking to learn more.
The first important step to treating hypertension is improving your lifestyle. As discussed above, eating healthily, exercising and quitting smoking and alcohol are major steps to preventing and treating hypertension.
There is medicine you can take to manage Hypertension. There are many different types of medications your healthcare provider may prescribe, such as:
- ACE inhibitors (commonly enalapril) to reduce blood pressure and improve kidney function
- Beta blockers and calcium channel blockers (commonly amlodipine) to reduce blood pressure
- Diuretics or ‘water pills’ (commonly Ridaq) to reduce excess water in the kidneys.
What can happen without treatment?
Hypertension can damage very important organs. It can cause a stroke in your brain by blocking or bursting arteries. In your heart, it can also block blood supply to the heart muscle and cause chest pain, heart failure and/or heart attack. Hypertension can also damage your kidneys, which play a very important role in getting rid of toxins from your blood.